The art program at St. Mary School focuses on mastery of foundational art techniques and exposure to a wide variety of art styles and media. The program also equips students with the proper tools to intelligently critique art and encourages students in their increasing artistic self-expression. Students in elementary school attend art class once a week, while middle school students study art more intensely for one trimester each year.
In the early elementary years, the art program focuses on helping students develop their fine motor skills. Beginning in second grade, students begin systematically working on projects which expose them to a wide variety of art styles and media. The St. Mary School art program benefits from its vast collection of high quality materials and media - including its own kiln! As students are introduced to each new style, they study a well-known artist who exemplifies that particular style. In addition, the projects are often tied to the core academic curriculum for each grade. For example, as students study the early Colonial period, they work on guided line drawings of the Mayflower which includes applying color appropriately. As students study marine life and ecology, they sculpt ocean animals from clay. During this time, students also learn the basic elements of art and principles of design, such as the use of perspective, line, color theory and dimension.
In middle school, the students study more advanced styles and media, such as various forms of printmaking and Shibori (an Asian art form). As they approach the Sacrament of Confirmation, the students study iconography and create an icon of their chosen Confirmation saint. They also learn how to identify, categorize and critique works of art.
As a Catholic art program, St. Mary School aims to help students encounter beauty - and therefore truth - through art. We aim to instill a sense of wonder in our students and to help them recognize that art is often an expression of spirituality. Further, we encourage our students to respond with gratitude to the immense treasury of art that belongs to our Catholic heritage.
"Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." - St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists (1999)